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It reminds me of the central tenet of cultural relativism: that there exist no universal standards by which any culture could ever be judged “good” or “bad,” except that Western culture is irredeemably evil.) Matthias Troyer (who, unfortunately, still can’t comment here for embargo reasons) has asked me to clarify that it’s not he, but rather his postdoc Sergei Isakov, who deserves the credit for actually writing the simulated annealing code that outperformed the D-Wave machine on the latter’s own “home turf” (i.e., random QUBO instances with the D-Wave constraint graph).

I haven’t yet had time to read their paper or form an opinion about it, but I’d be very interested if others wanted to weigh in.

The USC group has put out a new preprint responding to Smolin and Smith, offering additional evidence for quantum behavior in the D-Wave device that they say can’t be explained using Smolin and Smith’s model.

See here for more info; I’ll be traveling then and won’t be able to make it.

I don’t know whether the performance comparisons to Matthias Troyer’s and Alex Selby’s code will be among the topics discussed, or if there will be an opportunity to ask questions about such things.

In the comments, many people tried repeatedly to change the subject from (*) to various subsidiary questions.

For example: isn’t it possible that D-Wave’s current device will be found to provide a speedup on some generation of machines? Should Cathy Mc Geoch have acted differently, in the type of comparison she agreed to do, or in how she communicated about its results?Even if not, isn’t it possible that the startup will manage to develop an effective gene therapy sometime in the future? And anyway, at least they’re out there to make gene therapy work!So we should all support them, rather than relentlessly criticizing.I left without asking questions, not wanting to be the one to instigate an unpleasant confrontation, and—I’ll admit—questioning my own sanity as a result of no one else asking about the gigantic elephant in the room. Among the many interesting comments below, see especially this one by Alex Selby, who says he’s written his own specialist solver for one class of the Mc Geoch and Wang benchmarks that significantly outperforms the software (and D-Wave machine) tested by Mc Geoch and Wang on those benchmarks—and who provides the Python code so you can try it yourself.Also, Igor Vernik asked me to announce that on July 8th, D-Wave will be giving a technical presentation at the International Superconducting Electronics Conference in Cambridge.Imagine that someone wrote a blog post bringing all of this to public attention.

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